UK immigration runs pilot of visa expiry 'reminder' service

The UK's immigration authorities have announced a new scheme to remind foreign nationals in the UK when their visa is close to expiry. The pilot scheme has already started.

The Home Office will run the scheme in concert with the private sector outsourcing firm Capita. Capita has run similar services for the Home Office before and attracted criticism in the press for its performance. In January, workpermit.com reported that Capita had contacted people with permission to remain in the UK and had wrongly told them to leave.

The Home Office has randomly selected a proportion of those whose visas are due to expire in June 2013. It has asked Capita to contact everyone in this sample by letter, email or text message to remind them that their visas will expire soon. The communication will advise the selected visa holders to either apply for a new visa, for a visa extension, or to prepare to leave the country.

Capita will send a further reminder one month before each visa holder's visa is due to expire and another seven days before the expiry date.

Home Office 'will update records' if they are wrong

The Home Office has issued a statement reading; 'we will continue to work closely with Capita to ensure information provided is accurate. If we receive evidence to show that an individual's leave is not due to expire in the next 2 months, they have already applied to extend their leave or they have left the UK, we will update our records."

Sanwar Ali of workpermit.com said 'If you are in the UK with a time-limited UK visa such as a Tier 1 high value migrant visa, a Tier 2 skilled worker visa or a Tier 4 student visa and you need help dealing with a renewal, you should give us a call. We have 25 years of experience dealing with the Home Office and we will be able to advise you about all your options.'

In January of 2013, Capita attracted some criticism after it sent letters, text messages and emails to some people who had leave to remain in the country and advised them to leave immediately. Capita had been given a contract by the UK Border Agency, which was then in charge of UK immigration administration, to find people who had been refused leave to remain and to tell them to leave.

Senior Capita staff told the Westminster parliament's Home Affairs Committee that the emails had been sent to the wrong people because the UKBA had wrongly given Capita the names of people who had leave to remain. The UKBA has since been abolished by the Home Secretary Theresa May who said that the agency was 'not good enough'.

Workpermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with visa applications. We are OISC registered. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to the UK or your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.